WEATHER

Anogeia

08°C
Wind: 01 Southeast

Rethymno

12°C
Wind: 06 South

Spili

08°C
Wind: 00 North

Fragma Potamon

08°C
Wind: 01 South

courtesy of: www.meteo.gr

Arkadi - Garazo

Length: 32 km
Estimated time: 11.5 hours
Suggested period: January - December
Difficulty: Gentle slops, but a tiresome route

VIRTUAL TOURS

Exterior region of the Monastery of ArkadiInterior of the Monastery of ArkadiInterior of the Monastery of ArkadiChurch of Arkadi

Cretan Diet

Looking for a solution for the nutritional problem of our times, Cretan nutrition is an object of study, since the majority of researches praise it as the most characteristic and best example of Mediterranean nutrition as far as quality is concerned.

Crete produces abundant garden produce, greens, vegetables, legumes and fruits. Cretans use herbs and plants for their cuisine that come from the island's mountains, such as thyme and basil, and they often accompany their food with wine from local vineyards and traditionally kneaded bread.

Olive oil for Cretans, as for all Mediterranean people, is the main source of fat. It is the basis of Cretan and Greek nutrition and it is used in most dishes instead of butter or other types of oil. It has great nutritional value, as it is the most powerful antioxidant in nature, protecting our organism from oxidization and the development of free roots that cause serious diseases.

The Mediterranean climate and the good composition of the soil allows olive trees to grow everywhere, both in plain and mountain areas, and to produce olive oil of good quality, low acidity and wonderful scent.

The History of Cretan Nutrition

The history of Cretan Nutrition is the continuation of a tradition that began in the Minoan era and has reached our era. Findings of archaeological excavations indicate that ancient Cretans, the Minoans, consumed products forming the base of Cretan nutrition 4000 years ago. In Minoan palaces, big ceramic jars were found, where olive oil, cereals, legumes and honey used to be stored. And on a variety of iconographic evidence, we see the incredible world of Cretan plants and herbs.

As centuries passed, Cretan cuisine accumulated knowledge and expertise that went from generation to generation. Thus, Athenian, Greek, writers during the Roman years inform us about two exquisite, complicated and delicious desserts that used to be made in ancient Crete with grape-juice syrup, honey, dried fruits, sesame and poppy seeds.

Even in Byzantine years, Cretans maintained their habits and the cuisine in urban families was used to complicated dishes offering exquisite tastes. Rural people continued relying on nature for their survival: on greens, fruits, legumes, olives and olive oil.

Cretan olive oil

It has been suggested that the olive was first cultivated in Crete around 3000 BC. The value of the olive tree, as concerns its contribution to good health, was recognised as back as ancient times. In ancient Greece, Dioskourides and Diocles praised its healing properties and Anaxagoras and Empedocles studied its historical evolution. Aristotle made olive crop a science and Solon laid down the first law on the protection of the olive tree in regulations that prohibited cutting down more than two olive trees in each olive field per year.

Many scientists are positive and explicit in the conferences they take part in around the world. A paramount characteristic of a healthy nutrition is the olive oil. It is an elixir of good health, physical well-being and longevity.

Its nutritional and healing value was known in Greece as back as 6000 years ago. The oldest olive press was found at the plateau of Methana by Deffner in 4000 BC. Olive oil was used for other purposes, apart from nutrition, as well:

  • After spicing it (with coriander, crocus, cress, gorse, cumin, fennel), they packed it in special amphorae and exported it in all Mediterranean countries.
  • They gave it as a prize to race winners in special amphorae, decorated with pictures of the sport in which the athlete had participated.
  • Athletes smeared their body with it in order for their muscles to become more flexible.
  • In the medical code of Hippocrates, there are more than 60 ways in which olive oil is used for healing purposes.
  • Olive oil was also used as a cosmetic, pure or scented, and in oil lamps to produce light for houses, temples and public buildings.

Cretan Cuisine

Cretan cuisine used different means and ways:

  • Food combinations are simple and resourceful.
  • Products are always edible and freshly produced.
  • The objective is their best utilization and the culinary enhancement of their singularity.
  • Olive oil is one and the only fatty substance used since the Minoan years until today. Olive trees have existed in Crete since 3000 BC.
  • Wild greens are usually eaten raw or boiled.
  • Legumes are usually consumed during long periods of fasting.
  • Meat usually comes from goats, poultry and, during winter, pork.
  • Even in these days, goats graze in open spaces.
  • Fish is considered to be an exceptional kind of food.
  • Spices are always used in small quantities.
  • Bread eaten with everyday meals contains at least 2 kinds of flour: wheat and barley flour.
  • The main sweetening substances are grape-juice syrup and thyme honey.
  • In Cretan nutrition, dairy products certainly play a more important role than meat and fish.
  • In no other cuisine in the world are snails as important as in Cretan cuisine.
  • Aromatic herbs are mostly used in beverages and less as aromatic substances in cooking.